Saturday, February 4, 2012

digital discontents, pt 197

steve albini from an interview in Tape Op magazine's latest issue

Q: Obviously a tool is a tool and you can use it any way you want. It’s your choice to keep working on tape.

Yeah, I think there’s more to it than that. I don’t think you can unilaterally say anything like that. The digital systems — their history and evolution — is that they’re editing programs. All of their development has gone into making them more powerful and flexible in the manipulation of already recorded sound. The act of recording a sound, within the digital paradigm, is perceived as a solved problem. Once it gets in the box is where the magic happens. I feel that’s an inversion of the process. I think there’s more implied in digital recording than just the manner of storage. There’s a whole culture of manipulation that has developed. I don’t think it’s a neutral technology. I think it’s had a detrimental effect on music as a whole. I think it’s structurally dangerous to artists. They don’t have an option of not ceding their music to someone. It’s not value neutral. The reason that I’m in the chair as a professional is that someone is expected to trust me to make choices that won’t make them vulnerable. I feel that’s one of the problems with digital recording; there’s no disincentive to making someone vulnerable.


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